The former title-winners have today (Wednesday) announced their two rider line-up of Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran, who will both compete aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
MCE BSB title winners in 2013 with Alex Lowes, Honda (UK) made the decision not to compete in a full-time capacity in 2014, but treated this as a development year for the Fireblade. During this time, Julien Da Costa has contested four wildcard rides for Honda Racing and the team has completed a number of valuable private testing sessions with O’Halloran on board.
With the development year under its belt and a new rider line-up in place, the Honda Racing team is ready to return in full force to the 2015 Championship.
Linfoot secured his place in the top six in the Showdown for the first time in 2014 and was the only rider to score points in all 26 races during the season. He scored his first podium finish at Oulton Park in August.
Linfoot said: “I am really excited about joining Honda because it is a team that I have looked up to since I started racing and they have had a lot of success. Honda have celebrated multiple titles and won with Alex (Lowes) before they began further development work, so that shows their strength.
“In 2014 my goal was always to make the Showdown and be consistent and now I need to step that up again and set my sights even higher – to start winning races and be fighting for the podium at every round. I see this as a big opportunity and I need to grab that with both hands,” he added.
O’Halloran remains with Honda for a fifth season, making the move up to the Superbike class after competing for the manufacturer in the Motorpoint British Supersport and the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championships. O’Halloran ended his 2014 campaign as runner-up in the Superstock title race after finishing on the podium in 10 of the 12 races aboard the Fireblade.
O’Halloran said: “It feels really good to be moving into the Superbike Championship as that has been my aim since joining Honda. I have never started a season before with so much experience of the bike; we have been developing the Honda at tests during this season, which means I have essentially already got knowledge of the bike from testing. I am really confident in the package and throughout the various tests we have had this year it has only got stronger.
“There is no reason why we can’t have strong, consistent results from the beginning. It is a hard class but if I can step up another level then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be targeting podiums during the year as my target is to be challenging at the front.”
Nick Campolucci, Head of Motorcycles, Honda (UK), said: “The decision to take a year out of the MCE British Superbike Championship was not taken lightly and it was not our preferred option at the time, but with hindsight it has proved to be incredibly valuable. The team has been able to complete a successful testing programme, under which the CBR1000RR Fireblade race machine has undergone some significant improvements, and we’re ready to come back to the championship fighting fit and with a really strong rider line-up in Jason and Dan. We’re very positive about the year ahead.”
Havier Beltran, Honda Racing team manager, commented: “We’re obviously very pleased to be returning to MCE BSB for 2015 and happy to have Jason and Dan on board. Both riders have an incredibly positive attitude and they are both hungry for success, so there is no doubt in my mind that the two of them will make an excellent team. Couple that with all the hard work that the team has done over the past year in testing and developing the Superbike package and I’m confident that 2015 will see Honda Racing return to the championship in a strong position and capable of achieving top results.”